ABQ BioPark closes for staff mental health day

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – There’s no question this last year and a half has been challenging for everyone. That’s why the Albuquerque BioPark decided it’s time to give their staff a break to focus on their mental health.

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BioPark staff have been working through the pandemic focusing on the safety of their animals as well as guests. So on Tuesday, October 19, the BioPark will be closed so that staff can take a moment to reset. A spokesperson for the BioPark says luckily, no one was laid off because of the pandemic, but now as guests are back, seven days a week, those employees are in need of a break.

“The whole goal is that our staff has been there for our guests and plants and animals and our facilities and have been working so hard we really wanted a time where they could focus on themselves and closing the BioPark was the best way to do that,”  ABQ BioPark Guest Experience Manager, Allyson Zahm said.

About 180 employees will be taking the day off Tuesday to interact with and build bonds with one another through focused-based activities such as yoga, meditation, and learning how to reduce work-involved stress. It’s been an especially trying time for the keepers in the primate exhibit after bacteria infected several of the animals and killed four beloved primates. Zahm says the benefits of focusing on mental health for BioPark employees will eventually trickle down to zoo-goers.

“I think it’s important for employers to be able to do this because your staff gives so much every day and being able to give something back to them is really important and I think that our staff is able to do even more for the community if they are able to first do something for themselves,” said Zahm.

The employees will still be getting paid for Tuesday’s staff enrichment day, which was made possible through a private donor. Tuesday’s closure includes the zoo, botanic garden, and aquarium. Tingley Beach will still be open to the public.

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